Daily Talker: Controversial School Assignments

A school department in New Hampshire is revising its policy for letting parents know about the books assigned to students, after a father was arrested at a school board meeting.

William Baer’s 14-year-old daughter was assigned to read the book “19 Minutes” by Jodi Picoult for her Gilford High School English class. It deals with bullying and a school shooting, but also includes a sexually explicit passage.

At a school board meeting Monday night, Baer complained parents should have been told the book was being read.

“I’ve never read anything like this,” Baer said. “It’s like the transcript for a triple-X-rated movie.”

When the two-minute limit set by the school board ended, Baer protested the limit and challenged the board to arrest him. A police officer led him away. Baer is charged with disorderly conduct and faces a fine of up to $1,200 if convicted.

“The district will take immediate action to revise these policies to include notification that requires parents to accept controversial material rather than opt out,” school board chair Sue Allen told WBZ in a statement. “Furthermore, the notification will detail more specifically the controversial material.”

Should literature that contains sexually explicit material be allowed in schools? How far should a school district go to make sure parents know what their children are being assigned to read? Share your comments below, and watch for them on WBZ News in the Morning from 4:30 to 7:00 a.m.


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